Author Archives: Helena Whitbread

Anne Lister leaves Paris – and her lover, Maria Barlow

On 31st March 1825 Anne left Paris leaving her distraught lover, Maria Barlow, with whom she had been conducting an affair. ‘…She clung round me at the last & when I wanted to go, saying staying did no good, ‘Oh, no’, said she, ‘stay till the last minute.’ She said she should go to bed immediately. She sobbed convulsively & as I went out of one door she hurried out of that into her own room (from the drawing room)… She said she would watch my pendule & think it spoke to her of me when it struck, particularly at the half-hour, that one little beat.’

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  • From Anne’s diary, Friday 10th August 1832 (age 42)

    [The first time that Anne Lister put her thoughts in writing about the possibility of courting Ann Walker, the young heiress who lived at Lidgate in the neighbourhood of Shibden.]

    ‘… Thought I, as I have several times done of late, shall I try & make up to her?’

  • From Anne’s diary, Sunday 5th January 1834 (age 43)

    [After eighteen months of an on-and-off courtship, Anne was unsure about whether or not there could be a permanent relationship between them.]

    ‘…Miss W[alker] talks as if she would be glad to take me – then if I say anything decisive she hesitates to. I tell her it is all her money which is in the way. The fact is, she is as she was before [i.e. indecisive], but determined to get away from the Sutherlands and feels the want of me. But [I need to] take someone with more mind and less money. Steph [Belcombe – i.e. Mariana’s brother] is right: she would be a great pother [sic]. [I] have nothing serious to say to her – she wants better manning than I can manage.’

    [See also Jill Liddington’s Female Fortune. Rivers Oram Press. 1998. p.85.]